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Escape to Maine: Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake

Walking to the water at Migis Lodge.    Summer camp for the whole family at Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake Maine.
Walking to the water at Migis Lodge. Summer camp for the whole family at Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake Maine.
©Stillman Rogers Phography 2014

We arrived late and tired after a tense drive through torrential thunderstorms. But the minute we arrived and walked through the tall pine trees to the main lodge for dinner, we began to relax. In the morning, after dinner and a peaceful night’s sleep, I knew we were in the right place -- I went onto the porch just off my bedroom just in time to see a pair of loons slowly swimming by and calling in their crazy laugh.

A walk to the water at Migis Lodge through a cool forest.
A walk to the water at Migis Lodge through a cool forest.
©Stillman Rogers Photography 2014

Peace in the woods by a lake

Migis Lodge is in South Casco, Maine, on the wooded shores of Sebago Lake, but it is not the standard lakeside summer resort. Instead of the razzle-dazzle of resorts, this place exudes cool, calm, relaxation and fun.

The mood is immediately established by the setting, which begins the minute you turn off of busy Route 302. A well-tended road winds through tall pines and hardwoods and soon you see the fences, like stone walls, but built of cordwood stacked along the sides of the road, ready for use in cottage fireplaces. At the children’s playground these cordwood fences seem to bring the make-believe cottages to life. Set back into the forest and almost unnoticeable, the Lodge's 35 cottages blend into the forest in tones of forest green and grey.

Everything that summer on a lake should be

Sebago lake is the second largest, and the deepest (316 feet), in Maine, at 12 miles long with a coastline of about 105 miles. That means plenty of room for boating and fishing on the lake. Migis Lodge maintains a variety of boats for use of guests ranging from canoes and kayaks to sail and row boats: 15 HP powered row boats, Grady-White T-22 Powerboats and Tahoe L-22 pontoon boats. For sailors choices range from Sunfish to fiberglass American 18-footers and even a classic Herreshoff Buzzard’s Bay 16-foot. For anyone interested in catching the big fish, Migis can arrange guided fishing trips with a certified Maine Guide.

Waterskiing and wakeboarding are also available three times a day, with lessons in the morning and early afternoon. Migis is on the northeast corner of the lake and shielded from lake winds by a series of small islands, the Dingley Islands, several hundred feet offshore. Kayaking and paddleboarding along the shore and out to these islands makes a nice outing. They also make handy boundaries for novices trying out the mysteries of sail in a Sunfish.

Swimming is also what summer at a lake is all about, as is catching sun on the beach. Since Migis is set in the forest along a series of small coves, it has two golden sand beaches, one to the right of the main lodge and the other near the large boat cove and picnic area. Although neither is large, they never seem busy or over-crowded. For sunbathers there is a large grassed area with lounge chairs near the main beach and another sandy area for lounging in the sun near the Boat Basin.

It’s not all water sports. Tennis players will find several courts in various parts of the property, and if tennis is your thing you can choose a cottage with a court right out your front door. Another two courts are next to the resort’s well equipped Fitness Center. Close by is another attraction that I fell in love with: a small wood-fired sauna in the woods only a few feet from the beach, perfectly located for a quick cooling off after a sauna.

Lodging at Migis: rooms in the lodge and cottages

Cottages are scattered in the forest setting, close to the lodge but separated to provide privacy. Room rates vary with the type of accommodation, but are all inclusive. Windows and porches provide plenty of fresh, cool air without others being able to see inside. And if evenings get cool, each cottage has a big stone fireplace with a ready-to-light stack of wood and kindling. Cottage options range from single bedroom to three or four bedrooms and all have large comfortable living rooms with fireplaces, TV and Wi-Fi. While there are no kitchens in the cottages, each has a small refrigerator and a bar sink. Rooms in the main lodge have large porches overlooking the lake and the nightly fire and ‘smores on the terrace. Migis is open from May until November.

Dining at Migis

Migis is an all-included resort, with all meals included in the room rate. The only things not included are your bar bill and gas and rental of power boats. The main dining room welcomes all family members over the age of five. In order to make dining more comfortable for most guests, families with kids 5 or younger can dine in the Family Dining Room. The menu is a good blend of old favorites and more unexpected dishes – the venison is superb, and at breakfast the Eggs Benedict can be served over Maine codfish cakes. Guests can enjoy lunch in the dining room or – as most choose – at the daily barbecue and picnic on the lake shore. Choices there can include grilled salmon or swordfish, along with chicken, teriyaki, sausages and burgers.

Getting to Migis

From Boston and points south, get yourself to I-95 north and take it north through New Hampshire into Maine. At exit 48 exit to the right but take a left at the base of the exit to Larrabee Road. At the next intersection go right onto Riverside Road and continue on until Route 302 (Bridgton Road). Go left onto Route 302 and follow it to South Casco (there is a circle intersection with 202, stay on 302). At Sebago Lake you will travel through a congested business district. Pass through all of that and back into green Maine forest. The lake will be to the left. After passing over a narrow body of water look for the Migis sign and Migis Road on the left opposite a winery called Blacksmith”s. From Boston plan on about 2.5 hours.

Traveling from the west, take Route 2, I-90 or I-290 east to I-495 north and then following I-95.